Sporedum Exclusive: Q&A with Maxis
Posted by ballightning on April 8, 2009
We recently had the opportunity to interview Stone Librande, lead designer of Spore Galactic Adventures, on a variety of topics. We hope you enjoy the interview below, and feel free to discuss below. Some of these were answered in the Spore Community Interview before we got this, so those questions have been taken out.
Sporedum: Is it possible to fail a mission, not just by dying? for example: killing a civilian, or destroying a building.
MaxisStone: Yes. As an author, you can set “failure goals”. For instance, you can place a “Protect” goal on a building. If that building is destroyed the player will fail the adventure. You can also use count-down timers and the player will have to accomplish another goal (say, “Move to finish line”) before time runs out. Failure isn’t permanent though. When you fail just click “Replay” and try again as often as you like.
Sporedum: Will scripting be supported in the creation of adventures?
MaxisStone: No. There is no external scripting language. Data must be entered using the Adventure Creator.
Sporedum: How complex will cutscenes be, will we be able to use full film grammar and how articulated are the NPC animations for the Cut Scenes? Are they mostly pre-programed actions or allow for custom movements within a certain amount of key frames?
MaxisStone: There are no tools for creating custom cutscenes. Cutscenes are automatically generated at the start and end of an adventure and when your Captain is talking to an NPC.
Sporedum: How integrated will the missions be with the Space stage? Will we find missions scattered about the galaxy like other user content, or are they separate, sort of like a Spore Arcade?
MaxisStone: In the Space stage an Empire will give you a mission to go on an adventure. If you accept the mission then an icon will appear on the galactic map showing you the location of the planet. Once you arrive at that planet you can beam down from your spaceship and attempt to complete the mission. If you fail you can try again as many times as you like. If you succeed then you need to return to the Empire that gave you the mission and collect your reward. (After completion the adventure planet remains in your galaxy and you can visit it to replay that adventure any time you like. However, you will no longer receive any rewards.)
For players that don’t want to play the Space stage there is a mode called “Quick Play”. This is the more like a Spore Arcade where you can quickly browse and sort through all the adventures and try them out by clicking a play button.
Sporedum:What is your favorite stage in spore?
MaxisStone: The cell stage continues to entertain me. Each time I play it I try a different strategy to see how effective it will be. Sometimes I try to get through using only one part (like the jet or the proboscis). Other times I like to do speed runs and see how fast I can race through. I recommend going to the “Control Settings” panel and turning on the option to have your cell automatically follow the cursor. The game is much more relaxed when you aren’t clicking all the time.
Sporedum: What is your favorite creator in spore?
MaxisStone: I have probably spent the most time with the creature creator, but the spaceship editor is my favorite. I can spend hours tweaking and adding little details while trying to get just the right look.
Sporedum: What do you believe to be the best part of spore?
MaxisStone: The player creativity (and the community that has formed around it) continues to impress everyone on the team. A year ago no one would have guessed that we would be approaching 100 million creations. (To put that number in perspective, if you lived to be 100 you would have to look at one creation every 30 seconds of your life to see them all.)
Sporedum: A large modding community has grown in the past months, what is Maxis’s position on modding and does it have any intention of releasing specific code to help create better and bigger mods?
MaxisStone: There are no announced plans, but we completely support the modders. Spore is a game about customization and creativity and we think it is wonderful that the community continues to explore new gameplay possibilities. In many ways the Galactic Adventures expansion can be thought of as mod tool that lets anyone make custom worlds. And no programming experience is required!